DigiLit Sunday & Celebrate This Week: Refresh!

Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes  …. because we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!

Digilit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche.  Today, Margaret asks us to reflect on the word “refresh”.

We have a month and a half to go before the last day of school, but summer thoughts have seeped into every nook and cranny of our classroom it seems – my students are restless, and hungry for lazy summer days.  On some days, I have to fight the urge to shutter our window blinds, so that I will not have to catch pairs of eyes gazing longingly out  at blossom covered treetops whispering, “Wouldn’t you rather be out here?”.

We have a month and a half to go before the last day of school, and there is still much to do: book clubs to finish, our Civil War Unit, the multi genre writing pieces we’ve just begun, new poems to relish, and new books to lose ourselves in.

We have a month and a half to go before the last day of school…and, much as I know that my kids love their lives in Room 202, they love summer better.

Margaret’s invitation today read:”It is time to hit the refresh button, time for winding down, relaxing, reading, and reflecting…How will you hit the refresh button?”   I read this message, and at first thought, well, I can’t think summer quite yet…I’ll just sit this DigiLit Sunday out.  

Then I remembered Julieanne Harmatz had posed for our Voxer group, when we were discussing our kids and their pre-summer restlessness: “What intrinsic things are there that we can do to create that motivated person we want our students to always be?”  I have been wrestling with this question all week, wondering whether the answer to this might best be left to summer and next year.

I looked at my calendar again, at all the dates marked for this lesson or that event, and thought, I need to refresh now more than ever!

So here’s how I refresh, right now!

First, I continue to read up and refresh my teaching practices – Katherine Bomer’s brilliant new book (reviewed for TWT yesterday here) has rewired my essay writing brain entirely, and I am going to set aside the tired old five paragraph format for a writing venture that’s new, bold, and true.  I refresh by trying something new. 

Next, I turn to the book my friend Kimberley Moran had just sent me – Penny Kittle’s The Greatest Catch: A Life in Teaching.   Initially, I had thought that I would reserve this for a summer read – it would be a kick back, put your feet up, sit on the porch with a cool drink sort of read. But, I made the mistake of looking through it and chancing on this quote:

Teaching is about honor and goodness and mercy. It really is. And no one will be watching you most of the time. You either live up to the calling of the profession or you don’t, and most likely no one will ever know but you. But it matters because the kids are counting on you.
Penny Kittle (The Greatest CIatch)I

Many of my sixth graders are coming into their better student selves only just now, after almost a whole school year of prodding and nudging and dragging (all the unmeasurable and therefore unevaluated work we do every school day).  This is not the time to loosen our class structures and expectations.  So, I refresh by staying true to my kids, to the work we do. 

Summer is still a long way off … but I celebrate that we are still together for a little bit longer…we find a way to refresh, even so.

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11 thoughts on “DigiLit Sunday & Celebrate This Week: Refresh!

  1. This post is so much about the amazing teacher that you are. Teaching is not a job for you; it is a passion. Through and through. You are true to your students all the way to the end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today and for being such a strong wind beneath my wings.

  2. So reffreshing and uplifting to read your words and the Penny Kittle quote. For some days I have wished to run and hide from school. Reading your words I am ready to go back and continue with good spirit.

  3. I enjoyed hearing the plans you’re making to ‘refresh’, mostly because you have longer to go than others, and that’s so admirable to take the next steps to make a great end of the year for you and your class. You might imagine I’m not as enthused about PD books anymore, but I do love Penny Kittle’s words, from you today & from past books, so just might pop for this one. Thanks Tara, enjoy your Sunday!

  4. I was hitting pause and you were hitting I have a month of school left. Our paths continue to cross. I have a few professional books on my piles that I have crept into a little now I think I will be cracking them open before school is out. Have a marvelous week my friend.

  5. Tara,
    I love that you are continually challenging your students and yourself to “be the best”! I have so many books started but I will persevere!

    Love this:
    “Teaching is about honor and goodness and mercy. It really is. And no one will be watching you most of the time. You either live up to the calling of the profession or you don’t, and most likely no one will ever know but you. But it matters because the kids are counting on you.
    Penny Kittle (The Greatest CIatch)I”

  6. Tara, You are an inspiration. We have just two weeks and two days left. But I’m sitting here on Sunday night reading your post and wondering how I can refresh for those last few days. I love the question posed in your Voxer group about what are the things we can do to motivate them to be the people we want them to always be. So if I want my students to be readers and writers beyond the classroom, what can I do in these next few weeks to encourage that? I know I’ve laid lots of good groundwork this year- but what else can I do? That is what I am thinking about. Thanks for this post.

  7. You captured one of my very favorite Penny quotes. That book — The Greatest Catch — is one of my writing mentors. Thanks for writing (and for all the comment-love you left the community).
    Ruth

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